He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality. —Romans 2:6–11
The previous 100 years of philosophy, thought, and social theory is what Paul prophesies about in Romans chapter 2. It is being fulfilled today on the nightly news. There are four phases to this kind of philosophy and social theory. The first is critical theory. In essence, critical theory is the human pursuit of heaven without God. How can we have justice? How can we have equality? How can we have peace? How can we have unity? How can we have health without God? The truth is, there is no heaven without God. Critical theory stands in opposition to something called traditional theory. Traditional theory is how you build something, and critical theory is criticizing that which has been built.
Which is easier: building something or criticizing something that was built? Criticizing is significantly easier. Imagine you are watching an American football game. The two teams are on the field, and up in the broadcasting booth, at a very safe distance from all the collisions, are men who comment on the work of the professional athletes. It’s much easier to say, “You should have run faster” than to actually run faster. It’s much easier to say, “You should have held on to the football” than to actually hold onto the football, especially when you’re getting hit by a grown man who is the size of a small car.
Our society loves to write reviews because we are a culture of judges. It’s a lot easier to criticize than it is to build. It’s easier when you’re single to tell somebody how to have a good marriage. It’s easier when you have no kids to walk up to parents whose kids are having a nervous breakdown in a store and give them parenting advice.
Critical theory consists of two parts: deconstruction and reconstruction. Deconstruction means we need to tear down marriage, gender, sexuality, law, politics, capitalism, academics, etc. because we see problems. Now there is a partial truth in this because we are imperfect people. Everything we build is, to varying degrees, imperfect. You could tear it down, and then have another person build something else, but that too would be imperfect. Then the next generation of judges comes along and tears that down and builds something else that is imperfect.
Reconstruction is a longing for heaven, for utopia. It’s the desire that things would get better and the world would be as it should be. But it is heaven without God, and that type of place simply does not exist.
Why is it easier to tear something down than to build something up?
This is an excerpt from Theology for Everybody: Romans, a 365-Day Devotional, click here to get your copy.
To get daily devos texted to you Monday-Friday, text DEVOTIONS to 99383. Click here to find the sermon series that accompanies this devotional series.